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Philly Cheesesteak Bites
1 packaged of frozen puffed pastry, defrosted according to package directions
8 ounces of top sirloin beef cut paper thin, cooked and shredded
1 cup caramelized onion
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 egg white
1 Tablespoon water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Using a cookie cutter, cut our 4 inch circles from puffed pastry sheets (about 18)
Place a tablespoon of each: beef, onion, and cheese in the center of each circle.
Gently fold circle in half into a half moon shape, making sure that filling does not fall out.
Use a fork dipped in flour to press down the edges.
Place bites onto a baking sheet.
Brush with egg wash (1 egg white beaten with 1 tablespoon of water)
Place baking sheet into oven and bake bites for about 20 minutes until golden brown.
Recipe from nourishedsimply.com
Thought of the Day: “The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” – William James
Traveling This Holiday Season? Keep These Tips in Mind to Cut Down on Stress
For many people, the holiday season is a dance between the joy of spending time with loved ones and the stress of frequent celebrations. Stress is amplified for those who have their homes on the market and are planning to move at this time of year.
In between showing your home to potential buyers, packing, and searching for a new place to live, do your holiday plans this year include travel? Here are a few tips to help you reduce stress and extract the most joy from this hectic season:
If your trip includes transporting holiday gifts to loved ones, consider having the items shipped to them directly. Not only will bringing presents with you add to your luggage burden, but nothing would dampen the holiday spirit like having your stash of gifts end up in the airline’s lost luggage purgatory.
Avoid traveling on the most popular dates. Regardless of your method of transportation, certain days surrounding each holiday are notoriously busy. These are often the day before a holiday and the Sunday afterwards. This translates to higher rates, busier roads, and nerve-wracking airport snafus. If possible, consider traveling on the holiday itself—any inconvenience will probably be offset by significantly lower rates, less traffic, and more room to spread out if you are flying. In addition, when searching on hotel or airline websites, review the lowest-priced options by checking the box indicating “flexible dates.”
Consider flights in and out of smaller airports. On the outskirts of many cities, less busy airports offer travelers lower fares and a less stressful flying experience. You may have to drive further to your destination upon landing, but the cost savings often render the effort worthwhile.
If your itinerary includes flight connections, be sure to leave sufficient time between legs. Between winter weather delays and crowded airports, scheduling back-to-back connecting flights may spike your holiday stress levels.
Budget-Friendly Staging Ideas to Boost Your Home’s Appeal to Buyers
Home staging has become a common step in the real estate process over the past several years, with many realtors strongly recommending it to sellers or even considering it necessary for securing an offer. While staging does tend to help a home sell more quickly and at a higher price, the cost of hiring a professional can be staggering.
If your home is for sale, consider these easy, do-it-yourself staging shortcuts that will capture buyers’ interest without busting your budget:
Enliven drab rooms with vibrant accents. While neutral paint colors are typically the best bet for appealing to a wide variety of buyers, they can sometimes cause the home to appear bland and impersonal. Adding inexpensive touches, such as brightly colored towels, pillows, or flowers will create an alluring contrast and help the room stand out in buyers’ memories. Another option is to consider painting an accent wall with an eye-catching color. Since a quart of paint should cost under twenty dollars, this simple solution can help you quickly transform a room.
Find creative ways to highlight your home’s best features. If, for example, you have an impressive fireplace, use lighting to illuminate it or place a plant next to it. This will draw buyers’ eyes toward the features that you want them to see.
Ensure that the entrance to your home is welcoming. First impressions can be pivotal—particularly when you are selling your home. If the entrance to your home is lackluster or in disrepair, potential buyers may not even bother to see the interior. Spur interest from the start by purchasing a new welcome mat, planting some cheerful-looking flowers, and fixing any damaged paint on or around the front door.
Give your kitchen and bathrooms a facelift with new hardware. Kitchen and bath remodels carry exorbitant costs and are impractical when your home is already on the market. However, by applying fresh paint to cabinets and replacing faucets and drawer pulls, you can quickly give these rooms an updated appearance without generating substantial costs.
Employ accessories to help buyers envision themselves living in your home. Remember that the main purpose of staging is to transform your home into a blank slate upon which buyers can picture their new lives—and often, this effect may be achieved with simple, everyday objects. For instance, set a bag of high-quality coffee next to the coffee pot, place empty shopping bags from trendy stores in the master bedroom closet, or stage the dining room table with placemats, cloth napkins, and a bottle of wine and glasses.If you have couches or chairs that are worn or have distracting patterns, conceal them with slipcovers. These guises are relatively inexpensive and will neutralize the room so that buyers can focus their attention on your home’s most important features.
Visit consignment and thrift stores for furniture if you need to round out an empty room. Often, these outlets are troves of low-cost furniture in surprisingly good condition.
5 Ways You Didn’t Know You Could Save Money For A Down Payment
One of the biggest misconceptions of home buying? The 20% down payment. Here’s how to buy with less down.
Buying your first home conjures up all kinds of warm and fuzzy emotions: pride, joy, contentment. But before you get to the good stuff, you’ve got to cobble together a down payment, a daunting sum if you follow the textbook advice to squirrel away 20% of a home’s cost.
Crowdsource Your Dream Home – You may have heard of people using sites like Kickstarter to fund creative projects like short films and concert tours. Well, who says you can’t crowdsource your first home? Forget the traditional registry, the fine china, and the 16-speed blender. Use sites like Feather the Nest and Hatch My House to raise your down payment. Hatch My House says it’s helped Americans raise more than $2 million for down payments.
Ask the Seller to Help (Really!)? – When sellers want to a get a deal done quickly, they might be willing to assist buyers with the closing costs. Fewer closing costs = more money you can apply toward your deposit. “They’re called seller concessions,” … Talk with your real estate agent. She might help you negotiate for something like 2% of the overall sales price in concessions to help with the closing costs. There are limits on concessions depending on the type of mortgage you get. For FHA mortgages, the cap is 6% of the sale price. For Fannie Mae-guaranteed loans, the caps vary between 3% and 9%, depending on the ratio between how much you put down and the amount you finance. Individual banks have varying caps on concessions. No matter where they net out, concessions must be part of the purchase contract.
Look into Government Options – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, offers a number of homeownership programs, including assistance with down payment and closing costs. These are typically available for people who meet particular income or location requirements. HUD has a list of links by state that direct you to the appropriate page for information about your state. HUD offers help based on profession as well. If you’re a law enforcement officer, firefighter, teacher, or EMT, you may be eligible under its Good Neighbor Next Door Sales Program for a 50% discount on a house’s HUD-appraised value in “revitalization areas.” Those areas are designated by Congress for homeownership opportunities. And if you qualify for an FHA-insured mortgage under this program, the down payment is only $100; you can even finance the closing costs.
For veterans, the VA will guarantee part of a home loan through commercial lenders. Often, there’s no down payment or private mortgage insurance required, and the program helps borrowers secure a competitive interest rate.
Check with Your Employer ? – Employer Assisted Housing (EAH) programs help connect low- to moderate-income workers with down payment assistance through their employer. In Pennsylvania, if you work for a participating EAH employer, you can apply for a loan of up to $8,000 for down payment and closing cost assistance. The loan is interest-free and borrowers have 10 years to pay it back.
Take Advantage of Special Lender Programs – Finally, many lenders offer programs to help people buy a home with a small down payment. “I would say that the biggest misconception is that you need 20% for the down payment of a house,” says Rodriguez. “There are a lot of programs out there that need a total of 3% or 3.5% down.” Some programs go even further and offer a 3% down payment with no mortgage insurance program, and other banks may have similar offerings. … “Maybe they have their own first-time buyer program.” Not so daunting after all, is it? There’s actually a lot of help available to many first-time buyers who want to achieve their homeownership dreams. All you need to do is a little research — and start peeking at those home listings!
HouseLogic – Erik Sherman / “Down Payment Assistance”
Upcoming LOW Events:
6th Annual LOW Christkindlmarkt December 3rd @ 9AM to 3PM – LOW Community Center LOWA Member Holiday Party December 4th @ 1-4 PM – LOW Clubhouse Come Sing Karaoke December 2nd @ 7-11 PM – Fairways Cafe’ Winter Pony Camp December 26th – 30th @ 12-2:30 PM – LOW Equestrian Center New’s Years Eve at the Clubhouse December 31st @ 8-12 PM – LOW Clubhouse Lions Club Bland Musical Contest Feburary 2nd @ Orange County High School Call George Schneider at 540-840-2740 for further information / www.lowlions.org
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